About the Author
Roadrailer has been attracted to railroading since he was old enough to point and enjoyed many a Lionel train before receiving an Arnold Rapido N Scale set as a birthday gift. He’s since been in N Scale for over 50 years. His railroading interest extends to the prototype, with historical research and rail photography often competing with N Scale. He’s been married to Mrs. Roadrailer for many years and she remains an ardent supporter of the hobby.
Roadrailer has resided in the midwest, northeast and southeastern U.S., so has a close interest in a number of railroads. He’s retired after a long career in the pulp and paper industry.
As a thank you for my contributions to the
TroveStar N-Scale Model Trains Database
, the folks at TroveStar recently sent me the March 2018 release of the Atlas Master Line SD-9. This item was not listed on the
but TroveStar ordered it (months ago) for me and I’m very happy to say that I’m pleased with my new engine.
Atlas first offered the SD-9 in N Scale in 1990 and this latest release was well worth the wait. It looks great, with crisp paint, accurate colors and impressive attention to the prototype's dimensions.
This engine is modeled after EMD's SD-9 locomotive, which was produced for 5-1/2 years from January 1954 to June 1959. Riding on C-C trucks, it produced 1750 HP from its 16 cylinder 567C engine. With its successful design, EMD sold 471 units to U.S. railroads, including the ASB, B&O, CofG, C&IM, C&NW, CB&Q, MILW, C&S, DRGW, DM&IR, EJ&E, GN, NKP, PRR, Reserve Mining, SOO and SP. Additional units were sold to export buyers, bringing total sales to 515. SD-9s remain in service today on shortline & industrial railroads as road switchers and as yard switchers for major "Class 1" lines.
My model is of Elgin, Joliet & Eastern 600; it is accurately painted in its as-delivered green and orange paint with black trucks, black fuel tank and no dynamic brakes. (The "J" bought only three SD-9s, built 03/1957 and numbered 600-602, none with dynamic brakes. Beginning in the late '60s, the 'J' augmented its SD-9 fleet over the years by acquiring additional units from sister road DM&IR.)
This March 2018 release offers a new low speed motor, low friction drive, directional lighting, dual brass flywheels, golden white LED's, blackened metal wheels, full pilots with body-mounted AccuMate couplers with a choice of DC with DCC Ready frame or DCC with an NCE decoder.
My model is DC, so I'm not able to report DCC functions and operability. Straight out of the box, I'm very pleased with its operation. In comparison with my Atlas/Kato GP-35 made in 1992, the SD-9s slow speed motor provides modestly improved slow speed operation and far superior high speed operation. The SD-9 cruised quietly and effortlessly around a 9-1/8 inch radius circle of track without any slowdown or binding. Coupler height and action are fine.
The Atlas SD-9 weighs in at 2.5 oz, lighter than the Atlas/Kato GP-35 at 3.2 oz. I'm not sure how this difference might translate into pulling power.
I look forward to putting my SD-9 into service and I think most N Scale modelers will be pleased with Atlas' effort on this latest model.